Jason's Deli, a new restaurant across from Fashion Place Mall, has a big menu.
At some eateries, that's a turnoff. Here, it's exciting. So many intriguing choices, and such fresh foods, should keep visitors coming back for more.
At least I hope so. Our family has discovered a new favorite in Jason's Deli, which offers something for every kind of appetite, unified by a commitment to healthful foods (the menu is trans-fat free, and many ingredients are organic) and good taste. Founded in Texas, this restaurant chain offers a nice mix of traditional deli fare with Southern and Southwest influences. The Murray franchise is the first Jason's Deli to open in Utah.
It was quiet when we visited Jason's Deli for dinner on a recent weeknight. I hope that doesn't last. There's plenty of room in the spacious dining space for lots of people to enjoy the urban/European atmosphere.
One great thing about Jason's Deli for many Utahns is the cheap and generous kids' meals. Most items are $1.99, including juice, milk or soda, and others are $2.99. You can upgrade with sides for another $1.50, and you'll still be barely up to fast-food prices.
And fast food this is not, though our meals arrived at the table minutes after we ordered at the long glass counter near the restaurant's entrance. The kids split an order of creamy mac and cheese and piquant spaghetti with nicely seasoned meatballs. Both portions were generous enough for three smallish children to eat two meals and be satisfied, and I like the fact that, instead of soda, they can choose milk or juice for the same price.
My husband chose one of the po'boy sandwiches, the beefeater. This is an excellent version of a French dip, with lean and savory thin-sliced beef on a toasty and substantial wheat roll and lots of stretchy, melted Provolone cheese on top. There's an excellent au jus to dip it in that is much more beefy than salty, with full flavor. The sandwich is served simply, with chips and a crispy pickle spear.
I ordered the "Spud au Broc," a baked potato smothered in broccoli cheese soup, Cheddar cheese, fresh steamed broccoli, chives and bacon. This is a good meal, and a huge meal, too. The menu warns you this menu section is headed "major potatoes" but it reminds me of that line in the movie "Roxanne:": "They said it was big, but I didn't expect it to be BIG!"
We're talking bigger than most dinner plates. This is a monumental potato, but it's fluffy and perfectly baked, and the toppings are delicious. The soup, creamy and mild, lends moisture and richness to the dish, while the other ingredients are fresh and savory. I scarfed down as much as I could hold and still had half of the potato for lunch the next day.
I also made a trip to the salad bar for a side salad and was rewarded with a plate of extremely fresh field greens topped with various veggies and "Jason's own" tart-sweet cranberry vinaigrette. If you try the salad bar, don't miss the tasty mini-muffins at its end. I tried and liked both the savory corn jalapeno variety and the sweet chocolate ones.
For dessert, we had a couple of fudgy, walnut-topped brownies and a big slice of strawberry shortcake. The shortcake was pre-packaged, but that didn't keep it from being a tasty blend of rich, buttery cake, creamy topping and sweet sliced strawberries.Soups $2.25-$4.25, salads $3.50-$6.50, wraps $5.50-$5.99, potatoes $5.50-$5.99, custom sandwiches $5.25-$5.75, other sandwiches $5.50-$9.99, kids' meals $1.99-$2.99, sides $1.50-$3.25, desserts 85 cents-$2.99
Where: 184 E. Winchester, Murray
Hours: Daily 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
Payment: Checks, credit cards accepted
Delivery: Offered during the day for $15 minimum plus $5 delivery charge; offered in the evening for $10 minimum plus $2 delivery charge
Phone: 263-1000Web: www.jasonsdeli.com
Stacey Kratz is a freelance writer who reviews restaurants for the Deseret Morning News. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org